Work interruptions that break your train of thought are unfortunately fairly common. Maybe it’s those endless Slack clicking sounds or email beeps (shut those alerts off!) that threaten to get you off-track, or perhaps it’s a chatty co-worker who must not have enough work to do. 

Most of the time these are minor annoyances that can be shrugged off. What’s much tougher to address, however, are more serious interruptions that can potentially push your deadlines back for hours or days. 

As explored in this “Preventing Product Design Bottlenecks” infographic, traditional file-based CAD platforms are built on 30-year-old technology and inherently slow down engineering and manufacturing teams. 

Let’s examine one of the biggest workflow blockers: Partners not being able to open each other’s files because they are using different versions or brands of CAD software.

The Problem: Collaborators Using Different Kinds of CAD  

Even if you and your external partners (designers, manufacturers, suppliers) are using the same file-based CAD vendor, if you’re using version 2021 and they are using version 2020, you still cannot read each other’s files. Even brand loyalty doesn’t immunize you from software compatibility problems. You will both be running in place until your partner pays for their forced upgrade and then installs it. Or you might be the one who needs to upgrade.

Once you do upgrade, however, the installation might cause more problems than it solves. Legacy file-based CAD systems are not backward compatible, even with themselves. So your company needs to upgrade every installation it owns. Then you need to run through all your existing CAD files and update them to the new software version. Things can and do usually go wrong during this upgrade process, especially since that year’s worth of new code has not been used in production yet – so the odds of a negative interaction increase.

Even without including the required updates to a PDM system (if you have one), that’s a lot of IT overhead – and a lot of waiting for everyone on your team to get back to work.

The Solution: Cloud-Native Automatic Software Updates

Onshape automatically delivers new features and functionality in the cloud every three weeks at no extra cost. Nothing to download. Nothing to install. Every Onshape user in the world is always on the same software version – the latest one.

Automatic updates include bug fixes, new features and enhancements that are prioritized based on customer needs. Users of file-based CAD and PDM platforms typically wait a year between new product updates. 

For examples of the most recent Onshape improvements, see the “What’s New in Onshape” page.

How One R&D Firm Fixed Its CAD Software Incompatibility Problem 

To design its needle-free blood extraction device, Loop Medical chose PTC’s cloud-native Onshape product development platform, which delivers regular software updates every three weeks.

Switzerland-based Loop Medical is developing a new minimally invasive device to extract blood from capillaries just below the skin versus conventional methods that collect blood from the vein. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the breakthrough technology is aimed at simplifying blood diagnostic testing at health care facilities around the world – typically in developing nations where medical resources and standards are subpar.

According to Loop founder and CEO Arthur Queval, software incompatibility issues with file-based CAD had previously slowed down collaboration between his teams in Switzerland, Germany and France.

“Sharing design files used to be very frustrating because partners would always be working on a different version of the CAD system and we couldn’t open up each other’s work without having long email conversations or using Google Drive,” he recalls. “Communication was very inefficient.”

“Onshape’s workflow is really smooth and it’s much easier to share our work and move on to the next task,” Queval adds.

When sharing Onshape designs with both colleagues and external partners, there are never any issues opening Documents because every user is accessing the same exact software running in the cloud. Hardware incompatibility is also a non-issue because Onshape runs on any computer, tablet or phone.

Learn How to Overcome Other Product Development Bottlenecks

Tired of having your product development process interrupted due to outdated file-based tools?

The “Preventing Product Design Bottlenecks” eBook also covers how to address the following problems that happen frequently with file-based CAD:

Get your free copy today and explore why moving to cloud-native CAD will help foster more product innovation and accelerate your time to market.